Peabody Essex Museum Joins the Big Draw Campaign with Two-Day Art Festival

The international drawing campaign comes to Salem.


Activities at this weekend’s Big Draw festival include a light painting photo booth. (Light Painting Photo via Shutterstock)

In the United Kingdom, The Big Draw is a monthlong celebration of drawing that boasts tens of thousands of participants. Stateside, Big Draw events are mostly isolated in Chicago, but this weekend, the Campaign for Drawing’s popular festival comes to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem for two days of fun, creative activities.

The Campaign for Drawing’s goal is simple: to get people drawing. And this weekend at PEM, that’s exactly what visitors will do. This family-friendly event encourages participation in interactive drawing activities like sidewalk painting (with paint, as the name implies, not chalk), sketchbook-making, games, films, and more.

For the illustrious: Check out Jeff Hopkins’s performance of “Pictures Come to Life,” during which the illustrator will create an original story inspired by the PEM collection. The audience can then color in the one-of-a-kind storybook. Friday, 6:30-7 p.m., and Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-noon and 2-2:30 p.m.

For the colorful: Step into the LightBomber Photo Booth to try your hand at light painting. Your kids won’t be scared of the dark anymore after they find out just how fun it is. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

For the reflective: M.C. Escher meets yoga meditation in Zentangle, a method of drawing that involves creating detailed and intricate patterns. Pros describe it as relaxing process that requires focus and can even help shape your lifestyle. The rest of us call it something to do during Chemistry 101 lectures. Saturday, 1:30-4 p.m.

For the homebodies: Those less inclined to travel to Salem can still take part in The Big Draw Online by AccessArt. Create your own artwork out of anything you like, and then upload the project to the Drawing with Stuff! online gallery.

The Big Draw events at the Peabody Essex Museum take place Friday and Saturday, October 4 and 5, East India Square, 161 Essex St., Salem. For specific activity times, check the Friday and Saturday schedules. Admission is $10 for Friday evening events (after 5 p.m.) and $18 regular admission on Saturday. See for details.